First and foremost, when traveling, it is easier and faster to just have a carry on bag with instead of checked luggage. Being a minimalist traveler really pays off. You save time on arrival since you do not have to wait in baggage claim or risk having a lost bag.
Most countries have smaller cars and taxis than here in the USA. With excess luggage, it can be hard to get everything in the car.
You can use public transit in the big cities without a lot of extra items to drag. Trust me – you can get a lot in a suitcase if you plan ahead.
Lets go over the essentials to have in your carry on bag.
- Pack a short extension cord with multiple plugs, it will be highly useful as the outlets in the airports are very popular with other passengers eager to charge as well.
- Bring a small blanket and pillow. They can squish into nothing. When you are in a center seat in coach for hours, you will be happy, happy, happy. Also pack eyeshades, earplugs and headphones. Sometimes even a short trip can encounter delays.
- Have handy some comfy socks or slippers to put on once on board. It’s the little things that help make the flight enjoyable.
- Roll your clothing to maximize every inch of space in your carry on. This also helps prevent wrinkles.
- Wear your bulkier shoes and items when traveling to save room in your suitcase.
- Carry some of the basic meds. (no more than 3oz each); especially with kids. If someone in you family is starting to get the chills or stomachache, it will be worth gold to give them some relief. They don’t carry much at the airports and who knows what your getting in a foreign pharmacy.
- Depending on the destination, we pack a foldable cooler.
- A twin air mattress. More on this later.
- A converter if traveling internationally.
- Bring powdered detergent in a plastic baggie and dryer sheets to be able to wash your clothes. Most hotels have self-laundry facilities. It fills up hardly any room and can come in extremely handy. You can even use the sink in your hotel room in an emergency. The dryer sheets are also useful to have laying in your suitcase to help keep your clothes smelling fresh: as to mask the smell of your dirty clothes bag.
Depending on your destination, we have found it helpful to pack a foldable cooler. It fills little room and when you are at a hotel, you can pack a lunch and some drinks. You can use the hotel ice machine to fill it. We hit the local supermarket and get some supplies; Bread, cereal, peanut butter and jelly. Cold cuts, milk, etc.. if the hotel room has a small refrigerator. You can save a lot of money on the road by doing little things like this.
Most hotel beds in Europe and other countries are quite small. So, in one of the carry-ons we sometimes have a twin size blow up mattress and sheet; so we can be a bit more comfortable sleeping. Now the tricky part is finding enough floor space to put it on!! It only fills up about a 1/2 of one carryon bag.
If the hotel you want to stay at is full, call them directly and ask when the cancellation date is; that being the date that people with reservations can cancel by and not get charged. Then call them that morning to see if any rooms have opened up. If you don’t know where to stay, try kayak.com for great rates on rooms.
Get foreign currency before you leave. Travelex is a good source. Credit cards do not always work overseas. Some need to have a chip and pin code. Also, sometimes your card might have additional fees when traveling abroad.
Travel in the off-season. You will get much better deals and few crowds.